Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

Afghan official held in Pakistan

By M Ilyas Khan
BBC News, Karachi


An Afghan government official has been kidnapped in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP), police say.

They say that the official from the Afghan rural development ministry was abducted in the Drosh area of Chitral - in the north of NWFP.

Akhtar Jan Kohistani is an advisor at the Afghan ministry, and is a former journalist for the BBC Pashto service.

A police official in Chitral told the BBC that he was visiting his wife's parents in the area at the time.

"Some unknown men, posing as guests of the family, came to Akhtar Jan's father-in-law's house on Sunday evening and called Akhtar Jan out. Then they took him away with them," police spokesman Ali Khan said.

A relative of the kidnapped official told the BBC that Mr Kohistani had been in Chitral for the last three days.

He said that the abducted man - who is believed to hold British citizenship - came from Afghanistan's north-eastern province of Kunar, which shares a border with Chitral district.

Mr Kohistani worked for BBC Pashto service in London during the 1980s. Family sources say he was a British national.

Mr Kohistani is the fourth important Afghan official to have been kidnapped from Pakistan in recent months.

Just over a month ago, Abdul Khaliq Farahi - the Afghan consul general in Peshawar, capital of NWFP - was kidnapped in the city. His driver was shot dead.

Another Afghan, Abdul Haq Danishmand - head of Peshawar's Aryana University, which mostly teaches Afghan expatriate staff - was kidnapped in Pakistan while on his way from the Afghan city of Jalalabad to Peshawar.

Last week, Ziaul Haq Ahadi, the brother of Afghan finance minister Anwarul Haq Ahadi, was kidnapped from Peshawar.

While all of them are believed to have been kidnapped by the Islamist militants, no group has so far claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.

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